Australian slang from its convict origins to today’s social media-influenced lingo will be the subject of a new research project at Monash University.
Aussie words that were in and out of fashion, and where they come from, would be explored, Kate Burridge from the university’s arts faculty said.
The “you-beaut Aussie lingo” of the past, which included words such as “sheila” , “bonzer” and “cobber” had long gone, but a new generation of words had emerged: Australians should be proud of creating “selfie” for the world to adopt, Professor Burridge said.
Certain words, however, had endured over time.
“Some of my favourite words are surviving from convict slang. A word like ‘bludger‘ , which is such a gorgeous word that was around in those days,” she said. “A ‘bludger’ was originally a pimp, someone who lived off the earnings of prostitutes. And they became a parasite or a hanger on.”
The project will also look at the life-cycle of slang, Professor Burridge said.
“We’re looking at how it’s changed over time and continues to change because that’s just the nature of slang, it’s got to change. Otherwise it’s not slang., ” she said.
“Sometimes they’re recycled. They come back from the dead. ‘Grouse‘ enjoyed a bit of a comeback. It was around in the 1930s and then disappeared and came back, but I don’t think it lingered long.”
Fellow Monash academics Keith Allan, Howie Manns and Simon Musgrave will work on the project, which will produce a book and podcasts.
CRIKEY, what a bonzer idea!
This article by IAN ROYALL is from the October 15, 2020 issue of The Herald Sun Digital Edition.
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